Virtuix Omni One 360-degree treadmill for consumers lets you step into VR worlds without boundaries

[A new omni-directional treadmill designed to increase (especially spatial) presence for home users of virtual reality is available on a limited basis now and should be widely available later in 2023, as reported in this story from SlashGear (where the original includes three different pictures). Engadget adds this detail about the Omni One and its development:

“You might remember the Omni, which launched on Kickstarter in 2013 and was backed within 24 hours. The Omni One is modelled after the Omni Pro, a larger but similar version available in entertainment venues worldwide. The round — or omni directional — treadmill is four feet wide by five feet long, and it weighs about 250 pounds. The safety bit comes in through a vertical bar that holds a shoulder and waist strap, with the latter having a controller positioned on either side of it. It allows users to run, walk, kneel and even jump through a video game. The Omni One can also be folded away when not in use.“

For more information see the Virtuix PR Newswire press release (which includes a 1:49 minute video via YouTube), and a 31:15 minute VR Fitness Insider podcast episode with the Virtuix CEO Jan Goetguluk. –Matthew]

Virtuix Omni One VR Treadmill Reveals Final Design, Shipping Date

By Dave Mcquilling
March 21, 2023

VR games are all about immersion, but play space restrictions often mean players are left moving with a controller’s thumb sticks or stumbling around until they accidentally send an overhand right into the wall. However, a better way to immersively play VR games is on its way. Virtuix, the company behind the device, has confirmed the final design of the hotly anticipated Omni One 360-degree VR treadmill, and the product’s beta testing period has begun. The company is shipping out beta units to a selection of its early backers, and this testing program is set to continue until later this year.

The full release of the 360-degree treadmill is also scheduled to happen in late 2023, and over 35,000 people are already on the waitlist. Over 900 early investors have also applied to buy beta units, with a lucky few getting theirs early. Virtuix says the beta program will gradually expand as time goes on. Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix, explained the difficult road to a full release saying: “After a long and challenging development process, spanning Covid-19 and supply chain shortages, Omni One has turned out to be an awesome product that delivers on our company’s original vision of an active VR entertainment system for the home.”

According to Virtuix, the treadmill itself is around 4 feet “wide” and 5 feet “long,” with a 4-foot diameter. It can be folded up when a user needs to transport it. The whole thing weighs around 150 pounds and contains a harness to keep its user in the correct spot.

It’s a good fit for most players

Virtuix claims that it is small enough to fit in the majority of people’s homes. It can be used in the corner of the living room and takes up less space than the standard 6×6-foot minimum many standing VR experiences recommend. It doesn’t just fit a wide variety of living spaces, it can also accommodate an equally wide variety of people. The Omni One will “fit” people who are between 4 feet, 4 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches tall. It can also accommodate anyone who weighs less than 250 pounds.

It also allows for a wide range of movements. This includes “crouching, kneeling, and jumping.” So if you’re playing something like “Skyrim,” you can wander around the huge map freely and crouch to snake when you need to. You can also go at “any speed,” which means it’s possible to jog or sprint and really burn some real-world calories while you explore virtual worlds.

There is no word on how the harness system will impact things like swordplay, but from the promotional materials Virtuix has made available, it looks ideal for things like gun-based combat. The whole rig is capable of smoothly spinning 360 degrees, so you’re pretty unrestricted and free to move in all directions. As a bonus, it’s also safer than regular-standing VR play. If you know the area around the Omni One is clear and you’re strapped to it, you’re not likely to trip over a coffee table or send your fist through a wall.

It’s pricey, but comes with a payment plan

If you opt to buy an Omni One, you get more than just the treadmill and the special shoes you need to use it — you’ll also receive a Pico Neo 3 Pro headset. The headset is wireless and standalone, just like the Quest 2. It also has the same processor and resolution as the Quest 2 but wins out in one department: the Pico Neo 3 Pro has a wider field of view, so you’re more likely to see something out of the corner of your eye and put the treadmill’s 360-degrees of movement to good use.

The benefit of the included headset is, you don’t need a high-end PC or a fairly expensive VR headset to use the Omni One. You’ll receive everything you need to get playing with your order. The Pico Neo 3 Pro is valued at just under $700, and that might take the edge off the price — as the Omni One isn’t cheap. The treadmill’s “introductory price” is set at $2,595 plus shipping. Payment plans, which could see people part with as little as $65 per month, are also available.

Though the exact details on such plans are scarce, as with all loans, you should thoroughly look into it before taking one. Alternatively, if you can’t wait for the full release or don’t have the budget for a nearly $2,600 VR device, you may still be able to experience the 360-degree treadmill. The Omni One is based on the Omni Pro, a similar treadmill that is available in more than 500 entertainment venues in 45 countries.

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